Andy-McCarthyism

Andy McCarthy was inspired to put up three posts at The Corner today.  Two focused on the usual guilt by association maneuvers and one-sided ideological attacks on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and the, ahem, Lower Manhattan cultural center controversy.

We’ve covered this same territory many times by now, so I’ll instead focus on the third post, “Sharia Creeps.”  The post’s first half is directed at another story we’ve discussed before, echoing the reaction of the PowerLine bloggers to an incident in Dearborn, Michigan, in which anti-Islamic Christian evangelists were prevented by police from distributing their materials outside a Muslim fair.  Both McCarthy and the PowerLiners present the incident as representing the gradual takeover of Anytown, USA, the inexorable spread of Islamic (in)justice threatening to make every city, suburb, and roadside rest stop in the entire United State of America indistinguishable from deepest, darkest Waziristan.

Because there are actually some people who seem to believe something like that is taking place, I will now emphasize that I was just joking.

Like the PowerLine guys, McCarthy neglects to inform his readers that the particular group involved in the Dearborn incident – “Acts 17 Apologetics,” sponsors of the AnsweringMuslims.com site – consists of committed evangelical activists with a history:  The video record that so appalled John Hinderaker last month and is still appalling Andy McCarthy this month is a contrived piece of political theater, a most recent chapter in Acts 17’s unapologetically Islamophobic campaigns, which include provocations against the majority Muslim community of Dearborn that go back at least as far as 2009.

The second half of McCarthy’s post turns the Islamo-alarum several notches up on the volume dial.  McCarthy draws attention to an interesting appellate decision in New Jersey (discussed here) concerning possible conflicts between traditionalist Islamic views of marriage and contemporary U.S. law:

Now comes this story out of New Jersey: A Muslim woman was raped by her Muslim husband (who was about to divorce her). However, a state judge refused to find that there had been a sexual assault or any kind of criminal sexual misconduct because, under sharia principles, a wife may not refuse her husband’s requests for sex. As the man told the crying woman, “This is according to our religion. You are my wife, I c[an] do anything to you. The woman, she should submit and do anything I ask her to do.”

McCarthy does disclose that the judge’s decision was reversed on appeal, but he neglects to inform the Corner reader of a critical fact:  The case in question was not a rape trial, but rather a dispute under New Jersey family law.  A criminal sexual assault action was being prosecuted in a separate court.  The sole question under consideration by the trial judge referred to above was whether the woman, as plaintiff, should be granted a “final restraining order” against the defendant.

In short, the overturned decision had a much different character than McCarthy implies.  McCarthy clearly intends a sensationalistic effect – to suggest that one or another school of rigid and comprehensive sharia (not that McCarthy makes any distinctions of this type) is on the verge of taking over the criminal justice system in New Jersey, meaning that hordes of evil Muslim men will soon be raping their wives (and eventually “our” womenfolk, too, no doubt) with impunity – unless all good right-thinking people join McCarthy on his Crusade against the ongoing Grand Jihadist subversion of all that’s Good and (Judeo-Christian) Holy.

To complete the performance, McCarthy links to his own rambling and bilious attack on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.   McCarthy is especially concerned about Kagan’s work on “Sharia-compliant” finance – methods by which Muslim individuals and organizations can invest in the West without violating Islamic prohibitions against usury.  That Kagan failed to protest Harvard’s endowment of a program to study (McCarthy says “lionize”) Islamic history and jurisprudence also seems to make her, in McCarthy’s view, an accomplice to beheadings and stonings.  For McCarthy, she might as well have polished the blades and selected the rocks.  In today’s post, he merely makes Kagan a silent accomplice to future rape, in a sentence that links to that article:  “Expect to see lots more of this as long as sharia’s apologists inhabit high places.”

Unfortunately, I do expect to see “lots more of this” – perhaps until the day that someone at National Review manages a peep of dissent, traces even the outlines of an alternative point of view on this subject, and McCarthy’s reactions force the editors to choose between him and some shred of credibility.


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15 comments on “Andy-McCarthyism

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  1. I’m unclear what danger Sharia Compliant Finance is supposed to represent. Now, I don’ know much about it at all, but it sounds something like Catholic Charities – constituting a service according to the tenets of your faith.

    From what I could gather, SCF does not function so well that it a danger to the current system. Only Iran uses it exclusively. Other Arab states seem to think it doesn’t allow them to make as much money as the world system.

    Maybe somebody could explain its dangers a bit more clearly.

  2. @ bob:
    McCarthy believes that developing SCF means supporting/enabling those who practice Sharia… Trading with the enemy, in effect.

  3. Huh? I’m confused.

    According to the appellate opinion:

    The wife accused her husband of rape (“sexual assault” in New Jersey.)

    “The trial judge found as a fact that defendant committed
    conduct that constituted a sexual assault and criminal sexual
    contact, but that defendant did not have the requisite criminal
    intent in doing so.” (page 23)

    “As the judge recognized, the case thus presents a conflict
    between the criminal law and religious precepts. In resolving
    this conflict, the judge determined to except defendant from the
    operation of the State’s statutes as the result of his religious
    beliefs. In doing so, the judge was mistaken.” (page 23)

    In other words, the judge did not find sexual assault because Sharia does not consider the husband’s behavior to be rape (sexual assault).

    The appellate judges spelled this out in capital letter in POINT 2 on page 2:

    “THE TRIAL COURT ABUSED ITS DISCRETION BY
    FINDING THAT DEFENDANT LACKED THE REQUISITE
    INTENT TO COMMIT SEXUAL ASSAULT AND CRIMINAL
    SEXUAL CONTACT BASED UPON HIS RELIGION.”

    How does McCarthy’s post mis-represent that?

  4. The trial in question was not a sexual assault trial – in which the state would be the plaintiff. It took place in Family Court or “Family Part” as they say in NJ. The appellate ruling came from the “Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Hudson County,” with the wife as plaintiff-appellant. In the Law Division, Criminal Part, the STATE OF NEW JERSEY would be the plaintiff. Pg 10: “At the time of the domestic violence trial, a parallel criminal action was also pending.” I don’t know the details of the criminal action.

    The whole thing smelled odd in the beginning. The defendant in a criminal trial wouldn’t have been appealing a decision that had favored him: There would have been no basis for an “appeal.” The State would simply have failed to make its case. Do you think most readers, even many relatively sophisticated ones, would have figured this out from McCarthy’s post?

    The issue before the original judge wasn’t whether to send the husband to jail for rape – apparently “sexual assault” in New Jersey – or to overturn a jury decision in a criminal action, or dismiss a charge. It was whether or not to grant the wife a “final restraining order” in a family law/domestic violence case.

    To be clear, I don’t disagree with the appellate court’s opinion. For one thing, I don’t consider myself qualified to agree or disagree. However, the relevance of a sexual assault determination, and the judge’s ability to make one, is different in the context of a domestic dispute also involving child custody, visitation, contact, etc. The lower court judge determined, apparently, that the husband was acting in accordance with his view of traditionalist Islamic teachings – was not a rapist in his own eyes – and that the husband therefore represented a different kind of threat, or not a threat at all on that basis, to the woman as his ex-wife. To put things crudely, a man of that type doesn’t sexually assault a woman who isn’t his wife. As the judge put it, the defendant lacked the “requisite criminal intent.”

    The judge’s reasoning as he expressed it may have been faulty, and have gone beyond the intent of the law (I’m neither a judge, a lawyer, nor a New Jerseyan, so I hesitate to venture an opinion) or beyond the facts of the case (of which I know little except what I gleaned from the appellate opinion), but the particular situation was not, as McCarthy’s description implied, one in which a judge annulled, disallowed, or prevented a rape conviction by carving out a sharia exception to criminal law.

  5. Rex Caruthers wrote:
    Is Islam to be considered a “Protected” Religion,or should it be excluded: as A. McCarthy argues:

    “for Islam is not merely a religion, and spiritual elements are just a small part of its doctrine. In truth, Islam is a comprehensive political, social, and economic system with its own authoritarian legal framework, sharia, which aspires to govern all aspects of life.
    This framework rejects core tenets of American constitutional republicanism: for example, individual liberty, freedom of conscience, freedom to govern ourselves irrespective of any theocratic code, equality of men and women, equality of Muslims and non-Muslims, and economic liberty, including the uses of private property (in Islam, owners hold property only as a custodians for the umma, the universal Muslim nation, and are beholden to the Islamic state regarding its use). Sharia prohibits the preaching of creeds other than Islam, the renunciation of Islam, any actions that divide the umma, and homosexuality. Its penalties are draconian, including savagely executed death sentences for apostates, homosexuals, and adulterers”
    http://article.nationalreview.com/438616/raufs-dawa-from-the-world-trade-center-rubble/andrew-c-mccarthy

    I did notice that McCarthy does not take the logical leap to declassify Islam as a “Protected” Religion. So how do we keep our legal Framework,and simultaneously squelch the parts of Islam we don’t like? Of Course,the easiest way is to wait until a law is broken,and then prosecute the bad guy,regardless of his beliefs,but that approach doesn’t prevent the Building of a Mosque near the “Holy Ground” of Zero.

  6. @ Rex Caruthers:
    I was thinking about writing on McCarthy’s views on Islam as a religion. The main thing is that in America, religion and religious practice receive specific protections, but it’s hardly as though religious freedom is the end of our strict guarantees of freedom. People who hold unpopular non-religious opinions are also free to assemble and speak.

    If we look at a particular religion, are we supposed to examine its practices and doctrines and separate out the ones we deem “spiritual” for special protection, and then call all the rest – anything bearing on real life – non-religious? That’s ridiculous. Any religion pursued devoutly or “religiously” is a comprehensive guide to living, not just to “spiritual experience” or whatever McCarthy is trying to talk about or thinks he’s talking about.

    Of Course,the easiest way is to wait until a law is broken,and then prosecute the bad guy,regardless of his beliefs,but that approach doesn’t prevent the Building of a Mosque near the “Holy Ground” of Zero.

    Or you could send Special Agent narciso to investigate everyone with any connection to the mosque, or with any connection to anyone with a connection, or to any present or past associate of someone with a connection to someone with a connection, or any associate of such associates, or anyone who has spoken out on behalf of the mosque, the sponsors, or associates, or on behalf of those who have so spoken out, or against such investigations, or against supporters of such investigations, or against associates of such supporters, or against the investigation of associates of opponents of investigations of supporters…

    Just be sure you have your guillotines sharpened and oiled.

  7. I’m still confused. Whether the trail was for rape or for a parking ticket, the trial judge based his decision in part on the defendant’s religious beliefs (i.e., Sharia law).

    That is the gist of the entire appellate decision.

    Do not get hung on argumentative details. Look at the whole picture.

    McCarthy is correct. Volokh is correct. Spencer is correct. Geller (and Yerushalmi) is correct.

    You can say “the system worked.” However, the “system” (appellate system) should not have even had to step into this case in the first place. This type of ruling would have been unheard of a few years ago.

    The significance is that there are now sitting judges making these kinds of rulings.

    The appellate court apparently feels the same way — they spent a considerable amount of resources — time and pages (and money) writing their opinion — this was not a casual page and a half reversal and remander.

    Alarm bells should indeed be going off.

    If you do not understand the concern, you do not understand the problem.

  8. CK MacLeod wrote:

    The judge’s reasoning as he expressed it may have been faulty

    you would be on pretty safe ground in saying that it’s faulty. reading no more than what’s here to read, and not the decision, I would hope that the judge’s words reflect nothing beyond a single point of consideration in sentencing, because “he didn’t think it was a bad idea” ain’t an excuse.

    if the judge used it as grounds for finding the defendant not guilty, it’s an outrageous error and a Tsar tip-toeing around that is a Tsar infringing on the rights of the people and the law of the realm.

  9. Libby wrote:

    Saying anything else is just spinning….

    Well, you’re entitled to your spin, but I’m not obligated to be spun by it.

    This type of ruling would have been unheard of a few years ago.

    Judges have been making faulty decisions for as long as there have been judges, and, more broadly, people have been arguing over the nature of “guilt” broadly and widely ever since there’s been a concept of guilt. Somewhat contrary to the basic rule that “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” judges, juries, electorates, and pundits have sought excuse (or mitigation) on the basis of defendants’ capacities, competence, upbringing, education, ideologies, beliefs, etc., forever.

    What’s unique about this particular ruling is solely that it comes at a time of enhanced scrutiny of Islam. My guess is that a serious historian of American jurisprudence could find numerous precedents for this “type of ruling” – regarding Muslims, other immigrants, and other social groups – though much more commonly you would find prosecutors declining to charge and police declining to arrest because “you know how those people are.”

    Furthermore, contrary to your assertion that “there are now sitting judges making these kinds of rulings” – taken narrowly in the sense of Sharia exceptions to serious criminal charges – we have evidence of one judge making one reversed ruling in one particular family law-related situation.

    The reason that McCarthy, Spencer, and Geller are alarmed (I didn’t notice any indication of “alarm” in Volokh’s post) is that they are professionally alarmed about Islam.

    But let’s assume that the judge’s ruling had stood, and let’s assume furthermore that it was broadly applied nationwide in criminal law… well, actually, we can’t assume that it could be “broadly” applied nationwide because there aren’t adherents to traditionalist Islam “broadly nationwide.” If we decided to carve out a “traditionalist Sharia exception” to sexual assault in marriage, it would affect a minuscule percentage of the population.

    You can argue that it would be a bad precedent, and I would agree, and so did the appellate judges even within this peculiar family law context, and so would, I suspect, the vast majority of the population, including, I have no doubt, the vast majority of American Muslims. Which is another reason why it’s hard for me to feel greatly concerned about this non-event.

    So, no, I dont’ “understand the problem” in the same way you do. In fact, I have yet to see where you, McCarthy, Geller, or Spencer have described a “problem” of great concern to anyone, in the sense of a dreaded scourge of Sharia sweeping the nation. I’m more inclined to take it as a positive that American jurists have begun the process of looking at Sharia seriously, and I hope that their efforts eventually lead to better understanding of real Sharia and Sharia traditions for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. My personal opinion is that you won’t find that understanding in McCarthy, Geller, or Spencer.

  10. The US legal system, from lawmakers, judges, police, prosecutors have given undue deference to “this is a family matter” reasoning of religions in the areas of domestidc and child abuse since the country has been founded.

    The abuse scandals of the Catholic Church may have the silver lining of reversing this, but if you any familiarity with Family Law, you know how entrenched it is. But it is the tip of the iceberg. Child abuse and child sexual abuse by parents as well as clergy, and spousal abuse all were consided “family matters” by the church until events showed the effect of such an attitude.

    Fundamentalist sects of Protenstantism also have “benefitted” from this attitude. Although I have no personal knowldge, I suspect rabbi’s have used this reasoning as well.

    This incident occured in an area with a loarge Muslim population. It is quite believable that the dynamic we have seen in say Boston has occured here.

    That this was not even considered as a factor in the Sullivan article idicates either enough ignorance of the area so as to preclude meaningful comment, or slanting information to arrive at a argumentative point.

  11. “I’m more inclined to take it as a positive that American jurists have begun the process of looking at Sharia seriously, and I hope that their efforts eventually lead to better understanding of real Sharia and Sharia traditions for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”

    NOT having American judges looking at Sharia seriously is exactly what is of concern here!

    There are already jurists well versed in Sharia. They are the ulama. I don’t think you want to go there.

    Further, there are various jurists well versed in each of the various religious jurisprudence. Typically, they are not American, and typically they are not judges in the American court system.

    Finally, so far as I know, there are only two (sometimes one) religious judicial systems that might have claim over the jurisprudence of each individual in the US. The first is the jurisprudence of the individual’s own religion (e.g., Catholicism, Judaism), and the second is Islam, which claims jurisprudence over everyone. (Muslims and atheists would have only one religious jurisprudence to worry about. :-)

    Sharia creep is of concern. One need only look at Europe to be concerned. (Varying my earlier words, if you are not concerned about what is happening in Europe, then you don’t know what is happening in Europe.)

    In the US, increasing numbers of issues relating to Islam will be coming through the courts. Courts in the US do evolve significantly over time — cases that would have been decided one way decades ago are now decided a different way — precedents build up.

    Furthermore, aside from the obvious issues of wife beatings and rape (as in this case), honor killings, forced marriages, polygamy, apostasy threats (all of which are already in the courts), one can see such upcoming issues as free speech cases (insults to Islam (cartoons), self-censorship of organizations (e.g., bus and taxi ads)), and civil rights cases (e.g., is assault with a pork chop on a Muslim a crime or perhaps a civil rights infraction?). (Ok, I made that last one up :-) — but, hey, it’s not that far fetched.)

    Other issues I can’t even think of (or that people would currently say “That will never happen!” (cruel and unusual punishments? slavery? treason?) could begin coming through.

    The best disinfectant is sunlight. Keeping people informed and keeping the courts aware is the proper thing to do. If it takes some people yelling “Sharia!” from the rafters, I’m all for it. Better now than after precedents have been set.

  12. If it takes some people yelling “Sharia!” from the rafters, I’m all for it.

    Perhaps you should consider whether chauvinism, alarmism, ignorance, distorted and misleading propaganda, and outright bigotry might have the effect of discrediting the project that you’re in favor of.

  13. Libby wrote:

    Sharia creep is of concern

    exactly how much of a concern is it, Libby, if there isn’t any of it?

    getting crushed by the carcass of a catapulted cow is a concern.

  14. Cism,
    Excess love of the letter C/

    creep,concern,crushed,carcass,catapulted,cow,concern

    Reminds me a bit of GM Hopkins&Dylan Thomas

  15. I’m fine, and fully fond of f, first and foremost.

    (nice company that you’ve found for me, albeit not for them. you’ve pretty fine taste.)

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